Christmas & Traditions

The week before Christmas tends to be very busy so we decided to keep it simple and focus on CHRISTMAS. We also wanted to share with you some of the traditions that we have and things that we like to do this time of year. MERRY CHRISTMAS! We hope that you will enjoy learning about some of the fun things that we do this time of year. Our ideas are posted below.

Heather’s Christmas Traditions

I love Christmas Traditions! We have lots of traditions that we have stuck with every year and hope to continue in years to come. Here are a few of our traditions:
We have a tradition of cutting down our own Christmas tree! We usually purchase a $10 permit and then spend the day searching for the perfect tree…It’s an all day adventure and has been lots of fun! This year we purchased our first tree from Home Depot because of an unexpected Snow Storm…every year we have had a real tree!

After we get our tree all set up we put lights on it and decorate it and then go to bed. The morning after we set up the tree we always find New Pajamas under the tree waiting for us. Santa’s Elf’s bring them to show that they like our tree.
I love getting our pajama’s the day after the tree is set up because we can wear them all of December and on Christmas Eve!
We have another tradition of letting each of our kids pick out/buy on ornament to put on the tree. They pick an ornament each year and we write their name and year on it then when they move out they will get to take them with them.
We also get a family ornament each year although the family ornament is always a clear glass ball with a family picture from the year…I just put it together! I found a tutorial that shows how to put a picture in a clear glass ornament…it’s pretty close to how I do mine. The only difference is I just design the whole picture in Photoshop and then print it. Here is the tutorial if your interested.

We have another tradition of driving around and looking at Christmas lights…this house is one of my favorites!
Christmas Lights

We also visit Temple square each year to see the lights and the Nativity!

We also have a tradition of purchasing a Christmas book each year and reading it together. This has been a fun one…each year we have more Christmas books to read and it’s fun to look back on why we chose the certain book each year. This year our little boy picked it out and it’s all about the animals view of the birth of Christ. Our little guy LOVES animals.
We also love to send out Christmas Cards to friends and family! Here is this years:
no name

We always read about the birth of Christ from the book of Luke and we re-enact it on Christmas eve. This has been a great way to turn the focus back to Christ and away from all the commercialism of Christmas! Here is a picture from last year:

We usually do something with gingerbread or graham crackers like make gingerbread houses this year we plan to do graham cracker nativities like this one from AOK Corral.

We also have lots of family parties and get togethers with friends and family! One of our favorite parties is when my husbands family all gathers in our home and we enjoy dinner and then sing Christmas songs and Santa visits!

Hope you enjoyed hearing about some of our traditions! I would love to hear about yours. Enjoy the upcoming Holiday and don’t forget to take some time out of all the hustle and bustle to remember the reason for the season :)
Merry Christmas!!

Ideas on things to do this Holiday Season!

Winter to do List copy
My goal is to do each of these things by the time winter is over!  Feel free to use some of the ideas or add your own.  

Our House this time of year

I love decorating this time of year. Sometimes we have a hard time making things fit though. Last year we only set up the top half of the Christmas tree because the artificial tree we inherited from my husbands parents is VERY full and takes up a lot of space. This year we set up the whole tree but left off the bottom branches and also part of the branches on the back side…this way we still have the look of a tall tree but can push it close to the wall so we have more room. If you are tight on space give it a try. It’s worked great for us and you can hardly tell. ; )
Christmas Tree 2011 copy
Decorations 2011 copy

Where is Santa?

Click here to find out where Santa is right now!
NORAD Santa Tracker is a fun way to see where Santa is.  Right now it’s a countdown to track Santa but as time gets closer it will show where Santa is on Google Map. 

Christmas Decorations

We love decorating for Christmas and playing Christmas music!  Here are a couple pictures of what this years decorations look like.  I know a little random but fun too!

Teach & Play with the Nativity

I would have never thought of this on my own….my sister Heather actually came up with this one. She has the little tikes little people nativity set. She brought it over and we had a lesson all about the Saviors birth. We learned about Marry and Joseph and Baby Jesus. We also learned about the wise men and the shepherds and angels. It was really cool to be reminded of the real meaning of the season. Our boys LOVED this because it was hands on and very interactive. I know that all of you won’t have a nativity set and if you do you might not want the kids playing with it so here is an idea. You can buy scrapbooking stickers of each of the people/animals in the nativity. Just cut out wood blocks and put the stickers on the blocks. ; ) This is the first nativity set that we got and we still have it and my son plays with it all the time. ; )


We have a tradition of opening Pajama’s on Christmas Eve.  It’s great because then we have nice new PJ’s to wear Christmas morning.  Plus it gets the children excited and keeps them happy.  Another thing that we do is I let my son help with the gift wrapping.  He chooses the paper (from our wrap box) and holds the tape….so much fun for a 2 year old. ; )

Peppermint Ice Cream & Hot Cider

We had a festive treat this week. It was very simple and very yummy. We had vanilla ice cream with crushed up candy canes on top. It tasted A LOT like store bought peppermint ice cream. Give it a try sometime. We also had Home made hot cider. Here’s what we put in ours…feel free to make it your own.
64 oz apple juice (half gallon size)
48 oz Orange Juice (Frozen concentrate with water)
4 sticks of cinnamon
1 Tbs. of cloves
A pinch of Nutmeg.
Just combine the ingredients in a pan and warm on the stovetop. Super easy and very good. One thing that I like to do is add sliced oranges to the pan to add flavor and make it look more pretty. ENJOY!

Photo Shoot

This time of year is a fun time to take pictures. We had a mini photo shoot with all of the Grandchildren in their Christmas outfits this week. With Children so small its hard to get that perfect shot, but here are a few that we captured.

2011 Ornaments

It is a tradition in our family to buy a Christmas ornament each year. We have decided to buy a family ornament like the one on the left in the picture. We also buy each of the children one to remind us of them and the stage of life they are at. We write the year on the ornaments and hang them on the tree each year. There aren’t many on our tree right now but soon enough it will be covered with them. ; )


Personalized Message from Santa

This website is so fun! You can prepare a personalized video for your little one with details and pictures about things that have happened throughout the year. It took me about 5 minutes to prepare and my little guy LOVED it…I loved watching his face when he saw his picture and when Santa called him by name! Click here to make you own.


Here is our video! You can watch it first to see if you want to do one for your child. 

Our Favorite Pancakes

We absolutely LOVE these pancakes…every single one of us. I find myself eating them like cookies and don’t put much on them at breakfast because they are just that good alone. They are also filling and healthy!


This is a 2 step recipe, I make up a bunch of dry mix and then mix it with wet ingredients as I need it. Here is the recipe:

8 Cups dry mix: ( I mix all the dry ingredients and then store in an ice cream bucket)

4 Cups quick oats

2 Cups White Flour

2 Cups Wheat Flour

1 Cup Brown Sugar

1 Cup Powdered Milk

3 Tb baking powder

1 Tb cinnamon

7 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cream of tarter

Wet Ingredients: (When you are ready to use mix in the wet ingredients)

2 Cups of Dry Mix

2 Eggs

1/3 Cup Oil

1 1/2 Cup Water

Once you have mixed up your batter cook over medium heat.

1 batch makes about 8 medium sized pancakes! Enjoy!

HINT: When cooking pancakes don’t keep flipping, wait for the center of the pancake to bubble then flip once and cook the other side. The pancakes will cook more evenly :)



Colors of the Rainbow

We have lots of fun activities and treats to share with you this week. Okay, we got a little carried away.

First of all a little background information of rainbows:
There are 7 colors in the rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet.
Our focus was on 6 of the colors: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue and Purple.

Mixing Colors

We all know the primary colors are: Red, Yellow and Blue but did you know you can get the other color of the rainbow by mixing 2 primary colors together. Okay, so you probably knew that but do your kiddos?? They will think mixing colors is AWESOME and its simple, inexpensive, not to messy and fun!!

Mixing for the Kids
You will need: 9 plastic cups, Red, Yellow and Blue food coloring and water

1- Fill up 6 of the 9 cups with water
2- Add each color of food coloring (2 drops) to 2 cups (Leaving you with 2 of each color and 3 empty cups)
3- Mix away! Example: pour the yellow and red together to get orange
(Refer to the picture below for mixing fun!)

You can also just fill 6 cups with water and add dye straight to cups but I thought that would be to messy for my toddler. After we made all the colors of the rainbow we lined them up to look like a rainbow...

then I pulled out some skittles and had my kiddo match colors by putting the skittle in the matching cup.

when we ran out of skittles i let my little guy stir it up and then

drink it...it tasted good a little like kool-aid

Rainbow Pinwheel Game with Tutorial

I made this super simple pinwheel game for my little guy to help him learn his colors! He loves games and so I thought he would respond to it well...he did! Here is a little tutorial so you can make one too...if you want :)

You will need:
1 piece of each color paper (Orange, Red, Yellow, Blue, Green and Purple)
Glue or double sided tape
18 clothes pins

1-I cut out a half circle from each piece of paper using a dinner plate for my pattern
2-Then I stacked the paper like the photo below tucking half of the paper below another colored paper
example: the green paper would be placed over the purple with half of it under the blue
3- I then secured the paper by putting double sided sticky tape under each piece of paper
4- I laminated the finished pinwheel so it would last longer...this is optional
5- I then cut out little strips of paper and tapped them to clothespins (I did 3 of each color)

This is what the final product should look like:

This stored perfectly in a Freezer bag!

My little guy loved this game...we have played it multiple times a day for over a week. At first he struggled with being able to open the clothes pines by himself but when I showed him how to open them (like an alligator) he got it!

We started out playing the game by matching the clothes pins to the pinwheel and then we started to look for other things in the room that matched the clothes pin. We ended up finding something in the room to match each color and stuck the clothes pins to the items we found.

Rainbow Game

We made this simple and fun game from 1 sheet of cardstock/paper, markers and 2 dice. Here is how:

1-We cut the cardstock/paper into 6 different sheets
2-Then used markers to draw little circles on the paper like the one pictured below. (HINT:If you are horrible at drawing circles you can do what I did and draw on your marker lid and stamp a circle on the paper rather then free hand it)
3- Cover 2 dice with paper and color each side a different color then tape paper over dice.

We used a package of M&M's and Skittle's for our markers (HINT: M&M's don't have purple, Skittle's don't have blue)

The goal of the game is to be the first to cover your card...we played if you already had the color filled that you rolled you got to eat the M&M/Skittle :)

My goal/purpose in this game was to help my little guy learn his colors! :)
Hope you enjoy this as much as we did!


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